Guest post by Author Janice Hardy: Writing the Natural Way
Janice Hardy is celebrating the publication of Blue Fire, the 2nd book in The Healing Wars, by doing a blog tour. I asked her to talk about how her experiences with nature in her Southern US locale informed her creation of the tropical world of The Healing Wars. Take it away, Janice!
I knew early on in The Healing Wars series that I wanted it to be set in a tropical locale. This was an easy choice for me, because I grew up in South Florida, and I was quite familiar with heat and humidity. It was also a setting I hadn’t seen much of in the fantasy worlds I’d read. And you know what they say, “Write what you know.” The nature of my childhood played a large role in my fantasy world.
Although South Florida isn’t an island, it is mostly surrounded by water, and had lots of canals, so it was easy to imagine myself in my book’s city of Geveg. It might have been inspired by Venice, but when I pictured the canals, I pictured the Las Olas area in Fort Lauderdale. The white, curving bridges over the water, the palm trees, the balmy ocean breezes. The way the boats thumped against the docks and the wood creaked. Water and boats have always been a part of my life, so setting a world there made it even more real to me. Which hopefully made it real to readers.
I knew what it was like to have a friend live right across the canal, but you had to travel half a mile just to get to them. Unless, of course, you had a dinghy to cross the canal with, and your mom would let you do it. It wasn’t the same type of hardship my protagonist, Nya, faces, but it was enough to make me think about how navigation might affect her in the story. It also helped me figure out the dangers of her world, because seeing the stubbly ridges of an alligator in the canal out back wasn’t unusual.
My childhood also helped me picture day-to-day life in Geveg. As an island city, fishing is a critical part of their economy. My house was on a canal that connected to the ocean. We had a boat docked out back, and my family went fishing on a regular basis: up at 4am, shuffle out to the boat, be on the ocean by sunrise and watch the sun come up over the water. Then we’d fish all day, take some breaks to dive in and cool ourselves off, and head home. Cleaning the boat and unloading the fishing gear usually fell on me (I was the youngest), so unloading fishing boats was a job I could easily have Nya do.
I don’t think anyone would look at Geveg and think, “hey, that’s Florida,” but I’d like to think readers feel a sense of the heat and the stickiness of the humidity. They believe that distinctive growl and splash of something dangerous in the water. They feel the relief when night falls and the temperature drops even a few degrees. All the things that I grew up with, and later used to imagine a world with a similar tropical climate.
Write what you know. And then take it someplace new.
Blue Fire Blurb
Part fugitive, part hero, fifteen-year-old Nya is barely staying ahead of the Duke of Baseer’s trackers. Wanted for a crime she didn’t mean to commit, she risks capture to protect every Taker she can find, determined to prevent the Duke from using them in his fiendish experiments. But resolve isn’t enough to protect any of them, and Nya soon realizes that the only way to keep them all out of the Duke’s clutches is to flee Geveg. Unfortunately, the Duke’s best tracker has other ideas.
Nya finds herself trapped in the last place she ever wanted to be, forced to trust the last people she ever thought she could. More is at stake than just the people of Geveg, and the closer she gets to uncovering the Duke’s plan, the more she discovers how critical she is to his victory. To save Geveg, she just might have to save Baseer—if she doesn’t destroy it first.
Janice Hardy Bio
A long-time fantasy reader, Janice Hardy always wondered about the darker side of healing. For her fantasy trilogy THE HEALING WARS, she tapped into her own dark side to create a world where healing was dangerous, and those with the best intentions often made the worst choices. Her books include THE SHIFTER, and BLUE FIRE from Balzer+Bray/Harper Collins. She lives in Georgia with her husband, three cats and one very nervous freshwater eel.
Buy Blue Fire Here
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